Standings implications: the top three teams were all successful in this round with multi-goals win, as Juventus and Inter tamed Fiorentina and Udinese, while Lazio annihilated SPAL. Atalanta only partially took advantage of Roma’s tumble in Sassuolo (2-4) as they could not get past Genoa at home (2-2), so they now share the fourth place. A slow round also in the race to an Europa League berth: Cagliari and Parma shared the spoils in a head-to-head match on Saturday and Milan and Verona did the same on Sunday. In this case there is a three-way tie, with the Scaligeri two points behind, alongside Bologna, which instead nipped Brescia. Lecce destroyed Torino and was the only team to prevail in the relegation zone: they are three points clear of the last three positions. It was not necessarily pretty, but Napoli followed up the Juventus win by defeating Sampdoria, closing in on European zone.
Confirmations: make it nine in a row with at least a goal for Cristiano Ronaldo, who converted two penalties is two shy of tying the League’s record. However, Ciro Immobile was not to be denied against SPAL and assembled brace as well, matching the production of his partner for the day, Felipe Caicedo, who continues to be extremely prolific. Romelu Lukaku kept up with two goals of his own, putting Inter on his back in a tricky tilt. Josip Ilicic lived up to expectations against Genoa, but Domenico Criscito drilled another penalty and Antonio Sanabria bagged his second goal in a row. Jeremie Boga netted his second stunner in the span of three matches, while Edin Dzeko has found the target in each of the past three appearances. Andreas Cornelius pipped Cagliari at the post with a header, moving to eight goals in the season. Joao Pedro came through with a strong finish, but then botched a penalty. Fabio Quagliarella and Manolo Gabbiadini again led the charge for Sampdoria.
Guess who is back: Francesco Caputo had struck out in the last five rounds and roared back with a surgical brace in the early going against La Lupa. Riccardo Orsolini returned to the stat-sheet after a three-week absence with a masterful goal. Giovanni Simone notched his sixth goal of the campaign, breaking a five-match slump. Juraj Kucka had a very convincing display in that same contest and hit bullseye after two months. Filip Djuricic got the nod and delivered this week: he had not done it since early December. Hakan Calhanoglu finally put one in the net after months, but Milan could not fully overcome Marco Davide Faraoni’s third goal of the season. Antonin Barak came back to life in his day-view game with Lecce and Gianluca Lapadula and Filippo Falco both resurfaced in the romp of Torino. Arkadiusz Milik resumed doing damage after three rounds, Dries Mertens after four months.
Surprise scorers: Jordan Veretout canned his second penalty of the season. Simone Missiroli scored a late consolation goal versus Lazio to break the personal seal in the season. After registering a whopping six assist, Rafael Toloi knocked one on goal on Sunday. Alessandro Deiola blasted one home for his first career goal. A night of firsts for Napoli as Diego Demme and Elijf Elmas found the target for the first time in the Peninsula.
Flops of the round: Roma no-showed the first half in Sassuolo and were punished with three goals, putting themselves in a hole they could not get out of. Atalanta had a let-down game versus Genoa. Torino hit rock-bottom against Lecce.
Clutch goals: Mattia Bani is surging in the goal-scoring defenders’ chart and decided the Brescia game at the buzzer with a sliding effort.
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